Majority support for women's quota in business leadership

On Tuesday the SP decided to get behind a CDA and D66 motion for a women's quota for the supervisory boards of listed companies. With that there is a majority support in the Tweede Kamer for the motion that is intended to ensure that at least 30 percent of supervisory directors in business are women, NOS reports. 

The SP initially did not want to vote for the women's quota, because the party considered a quota only applying to supervisory boards not extensive enough. "Women's emancipation should not only apply in the boardroom", SP leader Lilian Marijnissen said. After some debate, the SP and D66 submitted another proposal, which advocates for equal opportunities for women in all parts of the labor market. The parties believe this can be achieved by ensuring, for example, good parental leave and good and accessible childcare facilities.

When this motion was adopted, the way was clear for the SP to support the plan of coalition parties CDA and D66. GroenLinks, PvdA, 50Plus, animal party PvdD, DENK, and independent MP Van Kooten-Arissen also voted for the proposal. Together they have 87 out of 150 parliamentary seats. The other two coalition parties VVD and ChristenUnie are against the women's quota. 

The CDA and D66 proposal calls on the government to adopt advice from the social economic council SER. The council wants a so-called ingrowth quota. If a supervisory board consists of more than 70 percent men and a position becomes vacant, it cannot be filled by a man. That position must remain empty until a suitable woman is appointed. 

Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven of Education, Culture and Science, wich covers Emancipation, is a strong supporter of the women's quota. She called Tuesday a historic day for the Netherlands. "We are writing history today, because we will now really break through the old boys network and create more equal opportunities for women." According to the Minister, this step is not only important for supervisory boards, but the measure also has symbolic significance for the position of women in other places in the business world. The Minister expects that the government will soon come up with a legislative proposal to this effect.

Employers' organization VNO-NCW also supports the women's quota. Earlier this year the organization acknowledged that all its attempts to increase the number of women at the top were not working quickly enough.